Monday, August 10, 2009

Makin' Sure The Lifeboats Are Ready

In professional baseball, the beauty of a seven game lead in August is that the calendar very quickly begins to work in your favor. With a seven game lead, a .500 mark over 50 games equates to a 33-17 mark to catch you- a winning percentage that currently no one in the major league sports. Pretty much the only way to get caught is to play at least a month of sub. 500 ball and get swept by your closest pursuer a couple of times.

Well, the Phillies are half-way to that goal- playing a lurching August and getting swept by Florida this weekend. The lead is down to four- which means their chance to bury the Marlins, or even to merely knock another week off the calendar via winning even a single head-to-head game, is kaput. Now, Philadelphia faces a tough week on the road versus Chicago and Atlanta while the Marlins go home. It could very well be down to two, even one game next week. Still, at least, the Phillies don’t get the Nats this month.

Coupled with the Eagles week- three players out for the season already: Cornelius Ingram, Stewaret Bradley and Shawn Andrews (surely you still don’t think he is playing this year? Does anyone know Jon Runyan’s cell phone number?)- and this has been the worst week in Philly sports since… I dunno, last year’s tie with the Bengals?

At this point, the Phillies are what they are. I’m not entirely panicked. Take away the games with the Nats, and the Marlins are sub-.500 team. I’m not sure that Florida an play eight weeks of 60% baseball they’ll need to pass a cognizant Phillies. And the Phillies have shown they just are not inclined to choke in big pressure September spots. I’m inclined to say it was a bad week in a bad spot- coupled with a team playing with the biggest intangible in sports behind them: desperation. Let’s try to get the Phillies through this week up multiple games on Florida and Atlanta- then their schedule softens up for the rest of the month: Arizona, Mets and Pirates. Fail those tests- then I’ll start throwing out the life rafts.